Category Archives: Krewe du Vieux

Friday Guest Catblogging: Dennie Meets The Insult Comedian

Dennie the Den of Muses cat found an unusual spot to nap last week before Krewe Du Vieux marched. She spent much of the week lying on the back of a Krewe of Craps built effigy of Donald Trump in the stocks. It was tremendous. Believe me.

Here are a variety of pictures taken by my krewe-mates Wendar, Chris, Jennifer, and, of course, Dr. A. The last picture features my old pal Loki.

Dennie Trump

Dennie Trump

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Finally, this is the best picture of Dennie. What cat doesn’t like scritches?

Dennie Loki

Power Before Country

Comatose 2017

Krewe of Comatose float. Photograph © by Ride Hamilton.

It’s not original to think that the 21st Century Republican party *always* puts power before country. It’s Athenae’s pet hobby-horse. She wrote quite eloquently about it just yesterday. It’s time for me to climb on back of said rocking horse and join in. I’ll try not to break it. That would be too much like Henry Drummond’s Golden Dancer story in Inherit The Wind for my taste, and I try not to be overly derivative.

What am I on about? Read and learn:

I was seven years old, and a very fine judge of rocking horses. Golden Dancer had a bright red mane, blue eyes, and she was gold all over, with purple spots. When the sun hit her stirrups, she was a dazzling sight to see. But she was a week’s wages for my father. So Golden Dancer and I always had a plate-glass window between us. But—let’s see, it wasn’t Christmas; must’ve been my birthday—I woke up in the morning and there was Golden Dancer at the foot of my bed! Ma had skimped on the groceries, and my father’d worked nights for a month. I jumped into the saddle and started to rock— And it broke! It split in two! The wood was rotten, the whole thing was put together with spit and sealing wax! All shine, and no substance! Whenever you see something bright, shining, perfect-seeming—all gold, with purple spots—look behind the paint! And if it’s a lie—show it up for what it really is!

That’s how Republicans *should* have reacted to the Trump phenomenon from the git-go. The Trump “movement” is all shine and no substance, much like the Insult Comedian’s taste for gaudy, glitzy, goldleafy decor. I shuddered when I heard that the Trumps might redecorate the White House living quarters. It’s the people’s house and the thought of any of it resembling Trump Tower is nauseating. In the immortal words of Garth Algar: “I think I’m gonna hurl.” Holy crap, I’ve gone from Spencer Tracy and Fredric March to Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. And I’m okay with that. 2017 is the 25th anniversary of Wayne’s World, after all. Excellent. Party time.

Where the hell was I? Oh yeah, the rottenness beneath the surface shine of conservative ideology. They’ve made a deal with the devil to get tax cuts for the 1% and to take away people’s health care among other horrors. It’s being done in the name of freedom but it’s really just selfishness. In that way, Donald Trump epitomizes what has happened to the GOP since the Reaganite wave election in 1980. Who’s more selfish than the Insult Comedian? If you know anyone, please keep them away from me.

In the wake of the Out like Flynn moment, there was a fleeting notion that Congressional Republicans might conduct a proper inquiry of the improper Russian connection. That moment has already passed because they realize this fiasco is apt to land at Donald’s doorstep. He was warned weeks ago that Flynn was susceptible to blackmail and nothing happened until Monday night. Why? I believe Trump (aka Putin’s Pawn) knew of, and initiated, Flynn’s contacts with Putin’s people. Flynn is not the only senior administration* official who has been compromised by the Russians: every word spoken, and action taken, by Trump indicates that he is susceptible to KGB-style blackmail. As Josh Marshall put it this morning: Flynn doesn’t matter. This is about Trump.

I’m not sure where this is headed. Events have been Russian by at a break neck pace. Flynn resigned while I was publishing my post about him, which had my head spinning like Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist. It’s certain that Trump administration* is headed for the rocks, it’s only a question of how extensive the damage is and who will be forced to jump overboard along with Flynn. It’s irrelevant whether he was pushed or jumped. The scariest thing about this week’s events is that Bannon is piloting the ship. The B3 Brownshirts are trying  to turn the White House into the Brown House. They’ve even unleashed Bannon’s creature Stephen Miller on the media. Unlike the rocker, he’s no Joker. Maurice would kick the little bastard in the balls.

There’s been a lot of discussion about prosecuting Flynn and other Trumpers for violations of the Logan Act. I, for one, am leery of that idea. The statute has been on the books since 1799 and it has only been invoked twice with no convictions. It was passed by a Federalist Congress and signed by President John Adams. It was aimed at the Jeffersonian Republicans who sided with the more radical factions of the French Revolution. In short, it was designed as political payback. It was mentioned by pro-Roosevelt forces during the isolationist America First moment but was never used. Wise choice.

Dusting off a 218-year-old statute to go after the Trumpers is a bad idea as far as this lapsed lawyer is concerned. It is a very frail reed and could easily be ruled unconstitutional if tested in the courts. That means anyone convicted under the law would walk and the GOPers would scream political persecution. The potential for backfire outweighs any positives.

The Logan Act is much like Golden Dancer in Henry Drummond’s story. A conviction obtained under it would be like Henry’s rocking horse: “The wood was rotten, the whole thing was put together with spit and sealing wax! All shine, and no substance!”

There’s an understandable temptation to fight fire with fire and sink to the Republicans level. I’m all for the resistance but we lose if we become carbon copies of them. Unlike our enemies, I believe in putting country before power.

I’ll give Spencer Tracy as the Clarence Darrow-like Henry Drummond the last word:

 

Crass Menagerie

Crass Menagerie

Krewe du Vieux rolled on Saturday night. It was a blast to march through the streets of the Marigny, Quarter, and CDB. I did my share of spanking and handing out throws. The Krewe of Spank’s theme was strictly local as you’ll see below but several Krewes did Trumpian themes. Below are two of the better efforts.

First, the Krewe of Mishigas with a sci-fi twist:

Mishigas 2017

That’s right, it’s Jabba the Trump.

Second, the Krewe of KAOS. Their marchers dressed as droogs, which was simultaneously brilliant and simple.

Kaos 2017

The first set of photos were taken by my old friend Brian. He also captured us Spanksters as we milled about whilst stalled. I’m not in the picture but Dr. A is:

Spanksters 2017

Spank has always done local satire. This year’s theme took a poke at JazzFest. We’ll begin with two views of the float taken by my pal, Christy Boom Boom Brackenberg:

Spank Float 2017

Spank 2017

Dig that crazy Spank-o-vision, y’all.

One of our throws was a sensation and still has the twittering classes abuzz. It’s a two-sided post card-sized parody of the JazzFest schedule cubes:

Cubes front

Cubes 2017

The cubes are, of course, loaded with fictional and wildly inappropriate acts.

A few quick notes:

Krewe du Vieux is *always* cold except for 2017. It was in the mid-70’s, which meant it was hotter than hell as we marched in our costumes. It was unnatural. We’re supposed to shiver, not sweat.

There are people in Krewe du Vieux who didn’t get the Glass Menagerie pun. The Glorious Bird weeps.

The crowd was huge and better behaved in the Quarter than in past years. Of course, it helps when you’re wielding one of these:

Paddles

And yes, people want to be spanked on the parade route. I don’t have any pictures of me doing so, all I have for you is this tweet:

Carnival is hard work. And there’s more to come. Let’s close with some seasonal music:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Night Parade

Spank Squad

Krewe of Spank float, 2015.

It’s the most wonderful day of the year, for me at least. Krewe du Vieux rolls at 6:30. That’s why the full-blown madness that is Saturday Odds & Sods has been dialed back this week. I’m too busy Krewe of Spanking, y’all.

I do, however, have a theme song: Night Parade from Robbie Robertson’s Storyville album. We march not far from where the red light district was located. It’s long gone. Time for some music. Hit it, Robbie:

I may not have a Saturday post extravaganza this week but I do have an Insult Comedian meme courtesy of my Spank krewe mate David M:

Trump Spank

That’s it for now. I’ll be back next week with a post that has more meat on the bone.

Riddler Meme

Friday Guest Catblogging: Dennie & The Busty Bust

Krewe du Vieux rolls tomorrow, which means I’m sharing some pictures of Dennie the Den of Muses cat. Since I belong to the Krewe of Spank, I considered calling this post Spanks For The Mammaries but I didn’t want Bob Hope’s estate on my ass…

I’m not sure if Dennie thought she could nurse on the busty bust, but ya never know.

Dennie/Bust-1Dennie/Bust-2

Time for some seasonal music:

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Trouble In Mind

Woodruff Underground RR

The Underground Railroad by Hale Woodruff, 1942.

Another week, another mural as the featured image. Hale Woodruff is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice. If you don’t recognize Trump’s Frederick Douglass quote, I have failed as a blogger.

It has been a Krewe of Spank-centric week at Adrastos World HQ. We’ve been helping with the float, buying costume bits, and even went to a pizza-n-shirt-iron-on party. Bet you’ve never done that. We also drank beer. Bet you’ve done that.

This week’s theme song was selected with our politically chaotic moment in mind. I am mindful of the fact that Trouble In Mind was written in 1924 by jazz pianist Richard Jones. It has been recorded oodles of time by oodles of artists. I have selected worthy versions by Big Bill Broonzy, Nina Simone, and the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the post only without the dirt or the band. That’s right, this post will be unbroken…

Emmett Till: Every social movement requires a spark. For the Civil Rights movement, the spark was provided by the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955. In fact, Jesse Jackson describes a conversation with Rosa Parks that confirms the importance of Emmett Till:

“I asked Miss Rosa Parks [in 1988] why didn’t she go to the back of the bus, given the threat that she could be hurt, pushed off the bus, and run over, because three other ladies did get up. She said she thought about going to the back of the bus. But then she thought about Emmett Till and she couldn’t do it.”

There’s a new book about the murder of Emmett Till wherein author Timothy Tyson got the woman who was allegedly the target of unwanted attention by Till to admit that nothing much really happened. Vanity Fair’s Sheila Weller has the details.

It’s abundantly clear that the Current Occupant has no knowledge of the Civil Rights movement or how important it is to many of us. It didn’t involve him directly so it’s off his radar screen. I suspect Trump and his dreadful, racist daddy regarded the movement as a nuisance. It made it harder for them to discriminate against black folks in their apartment buildings in the outer boroughs, after all. So it goes.

We go from the crime that inspired the Civil Rights movement to a look at how Hollywood is taking on the  Insult Comedian.

The New Culture War: We tend to think of Pats Buchanan and Robertson when we think about the culture war. Buchanan’s 1992 GOP convention speech scared the living shit out of middle-American and was a factor in Poppy Bush’s defeat. Thanks, Pat.

The culture war used to be a right-wing thing. It no longer is. The Guardian’s Stuart Jeffries takes a look at how Hollywood and others on the left are standing up to the Insult Comedian. My favorite bit involves the divine Julia Louis-Dreyfus:

At last Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild awards in Hollywood, barely anyone who got to the stage failed to denounce Donald Trump’s immigrant ban. Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, for instance, accepting her award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series with her portrayal of a (with all due respect) venal and useless president, said: “I am the daughter of an immigrant. My father fled religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France, and I am an American patriot … I love this country. I am horrified by its blemishes. This immigrant ban is a blemish, and it is un-American.”

Her speech came from the heart and was clearly not written by Selina Meyer’s staff. They would have found a way to fuck it up and elect Hugh Laurie President…

There’s already a backlash over comments like Julia’s and Meryl Streep’s but, frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. The rank hypocrisy on the right about celebrities in politics is breathtaking. The GOP elected an actor President, sent Gopher from The Love Boat and Sonny Bono to Congress, and now they complain about free speech from Julia and Meryl. As the Cowardly Lion would surely say, DA NOIVE.  I fed Siri that sentence and she had a nervous breakdown. It was most amusing.

Speaking of the culture wars, our next segment takes a look at cursing. Hmm, I wonder if we still have a fuck quota at First Draft.

Fucking Around: There’s a motherfucking good review at the New York Review of Books by Joan Acocella of two bloody buggery bollocky books about swearing. You should read the fucker. Fuckin’ A.

Speaking of people who got fucked over, here’s a look back at Grateful Dead’s 1970 arrest in New Orleans. They did not return to the Crescent City until 1988.

Busted Down On Bourbon Street: The Grateful Dead were “set up like a bowling pin” in New Orleans on January 31, 1970. The city fathers were terrified that hippies would overrun the city and interfere with their drinking. They simply could not have that.

There’s a fun look back at Live For Live Music.com. I can say fun because nothing much came of the bust except for semi-lurid headlines and this mug shot of a certain lead guitar player:

man_file_1055638_jerry-mugshot-1970

Notice that Jerry had the good sense to smile, not glower in his mugshot. Never let the bastards see you sweat.

I obviously have to post a version of Truckin’ at this juncture. This is a good ‘un complete with tight musicianship and sloppy vocals, both trademarks of the good old Grateful Dead:

Let’s move on to a sporadic Odds & Sods feature:

Separated At Birth? I added a question mark because I’m not 100% sure this works but it cracked me up when I saw it on the Tweeter Tube.

Instead of being leery of the idea, Leary responded without so much as a leer:

Just imagine it: Denis Leary in The Bowling Green Massacre. He really needs to wear Kellyanne Liar’s inauguration day outfit:

conway-meme

Let’s move from the ridiculous to the sublime.

Saturday Classic: I posted the Queen of Soul earlier, it’s time to listen to the King of Soul, Otis Redding. Note that the album begins with Ole Man Trouble. It has nothing to do with the Insult Comedian but we do have more than our share of trouble right now.

That’s it for this week. We’ll be back with more hijinks and shenanigans next week. Who better to have the last word than three Jokers? Heath, Jack, and Cesar beat the hell out of the joker in the White House. Figuratively, not literally.

jokers-memejpg

Welcome Back To Dizneylandrieu

Dizneylandrieu

It’s the time of year when I turn my attention to the zany, madcap antics of the satirical parade Krewe du Vieux. KdV is an umbrella organization made up of sub-krewes who design and execute our own floats and costumes. You may recall that I belong to the Krewe of Spank. In 2014, Spank’s theme was Welcome to Dizneylandrieu. It was our masterpiece wherein we mocked our pompous Mayor for encouraging the gentrification sweeping New Orleans post-Katrina. We called him Mitchey Mayor and marched as Mitchketeers. It’s a small fucking world, after all. Long before our take on the Gentrified Kingdom, locals bridled at attempts to transform the French Quarter-indeed the city itself-into Disneyland on the Bayou. Here we go again.

This time the theme is “security” in response to sporadic violent crimes in the tourist belt. Mayor Landrieu has announced a sweeping plan that could transform parts of the city into a 21st surveillance state:

An unprecedented number of electronic eyes will soon be deployed throughout New Orleans, watching over 20 different neighborhoods, tracking vehicles to assist police as they search for suspects and scanning French Quarter revelers to look for hidden weapons.

The massive security deployment, part of a $40 million crime-prevention plan unveiled Monday, includes pumping public and private video feeds into a centralized New Orleans Police Department command center that will be monitored around the clock.

“Here’s the first thing I want everyone to know: When you go on Bourbon Street now, everything you do will be seen,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.

The proposal, drafted in the wake of a shooting on Bourbon Street on Thanksgiving weekend that left one person dead and nine wounded, also calls for efforts to tamp down on the atmosphere of street partying and entertainment that often overtakes areas of the Quarter into the early morning hours.

While no closing times will be imposed, bars across the city will be required to keep their doors closed after 3 a.m. to discourage patrons from spilling outside, and an early morning spraying of Bourbon Street will further discourage revelry there.

Here we go again. This scheme is an overreaction to bad press every time some jerk with a gun and no impulse control loses their shit after getting shitfaced drunk. That’s almost always the nature of crime in the Quarter.  It’s the hardest type of crime to predict, deter, or prevent. In lieu of any meaningful attempts to deal with gun violence, there will be 24-hour surveillance of people getting hammered and doing stupid shit on Bourbon Street.

There’s so much drunken malakatude on Bourbon Street that separating the dangerous assholes from garden variety assholes is a job best performed by foot patrols. The city is already full of “crime cameras” that do not work, why are we to believe that this will be any different? It’s called throwing money at a problem to counter bad publicity. $40 million is a lot of scratch, y’all.

The Mayor attempted to defuse criticism of this misbegotten scheme by extending the surveillance net to other “hot spots” around the city. That’s unlikely to work. Plans like this come down the pike every so often, and city government is all talk and no enforcement. It’s another in a long series of publicity stunts aimed at making white people feel safe in a majority African-American city. Short-term solutions rarely solve long-term problems, but what really matters is that tourists feel safer. #Sarcasm. In short, it’s an expensive PR stunt as opposed to a serious crime prevention proposal.

For many locals, the most controversial part of the plan is the bit about bars having to shut their doors at 3 AM. There are several bars within a 2 block radius of Adrastos World HQ, they keep their doors open all night, and we hear nary a peep. 24-hour bars may sound odd to some of you, but it’s part of the city’s culture. The only reason they should have to shut their doors is if they’re bothering the neighbors. Besides, there’s no longer smoking in bars (something I support) so smokers are going to spill on to the sidewalk in any event. Is the city planning to send inspectors out in the wee hours to enforce this scheme? I am dubious.

Here’s the deal: I’m not much of a bar person nowadays. I have poor hearing so I have difficulty following conversation in a loud barroom. That doesn’t mean that I don’t understand the vibrant bar culture of New Orleans. The Mayor apparently does not. He’s beginning to remind me of H.L. Mencken’s line about puritanism: “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

You cannot save a city by denying its very essence and turning it into a sanitized version of itself. Welcome back to Mitchey Mayor’s Gentrified Kingdom:

Gentrified Kingdom

 

Mock Jazz Funeral For Lady Liberty

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We do things differently in New Orleans. We know how to put a joyful spin on the direst situation. That’s what happened last Friday as the Insult Comedian took the oath of office and gave his B3 alt-right “American carnage” speech. A crowd gathered at Armstrong Park in Treme and threw a political jazz funeral full of music, mirth, mockery, and, of course, costumes.

I did not costume as I decided to attend the day before. I went instead for a Krewe du Vieux gentile rabbinical look:

Three amigos

Photograph by Julie Graybill.

That’s me with two of my favorite people in New Orleans: Andy and Bob. Self-described lefty carpenter Andy built the coffin for Lady Liberty. It was an overcast day in the Crescent City, which explains my pallor. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It’s hard being a gentile rabbi in the city.

There were some amazing costumes as you can see below. One might call this Pussygrabber and the Walking Vaginas. Sounds like a swell band name to me.

Pussygrabber and the Walking Vaginas.

Photograph by Dakinikat.

Please give them a tiny hand of applause for their creativity.

My official blog photographer had to work and I didn’t take any decent pictures because I was preoccupied with a feline health scare. Oscar refused to eat and hid from us that morning. I think it may have been the general vibe of Inauguration Day: he’s a very empathetic cat who takes a dim view of the man whose hair resembles a nutria pelt. In any event, he was back to normal by that evening. Let’s just call it an anti-Trump hunger strike.

The march was great fun and lifted our spirits considerably. As we walked down Canal Street, some tourists gathered to watch. I loudly encouraged them to join in and some did. There was also a couple in a hotel room who waved and took pictures of the march. The only reason it’s noteworthy is that they were wrapped in towels or sheets. Probably honeymooners.

One highlight of the day was running into an old acquaintance, Campbell Robertson. He’s the Gray Lady’s man in New Orleans. I had the pleasure of introducing him to event spokesperson Annie Spell as “Campbell Robertson of the failing New York Times.” I introduced him as such to several friends including my two-woman Krewe of Spank posse of Jennifer and Lyndsey. They deserve special mention because they were my cocktail techs and brought me a Pimm’s Cup when we reached the riverfront Moonwalk. Thanks, y’all.

The one discordant note of the day occurred on the riverfront. The Moonwalk is named for the current mayor’s father, former Mayor Moon Landrieu. It’s a swell place to sit on a bench and watch life on the Big Muddy. It’s also a popular spot for some of the more aggressive homeless men to congregate; one of whom was NOT amused by the marchers. I believe he called us Moonwalk moonbats or some such shit.

That’s right, a really scuzzy homeless guy with a confederate flag patch on his tattered jeans upbraided us for not giving Trump a chance. I did not engage with him but some of our number did. He informed us that he wasn’t homeless, he was a bum and damn proud of it. Why that’s better is beyond me. It’s a pity that he didn’t have a sign proclaiming: Riverfront Bums For Trump. He delivered something that could be called either a stinky soliloquy or a rancid rant, here’s the gist of it:

What the fuck is wrong with you fucking people? The man has been President for 30 minutes. Give him a chance. Why don’t you damn moonbats go somewhere else and stop ruining my view.

He then pulled out his pet rat and began juggling it. I am not making this up, y’all. That was when marchers stopped engaging with him. Who wants to engage with a rat juggling Trumper, after all. I bet you don’t have those in your town. I almost suggested that he show up at Trump Tower and declare his fealty to the Insult Comedian. I bit my tongue because this is one of the so-called forgotten people who I would prefer to forget.

I had to peel off from the protest at the mid-way point to go home and check on the aforementioned ailing feline. My brain wanted to march the next day but my legs weren’t crazy about the idea. Besides, we had a Krewe du Vieux commitment. The New Orleans Women’s March was a rousing success with an estimated crowd of 10K. It was one of the biggest non-Carnival marches in the city’s long history. I’m very proud of my people. Of course, we’re a blue island in a sea of red so it didn’t surprise me.

If you’re interested in a journalistic account of the Mock Jazz Funeral, Dave Lohr covered it for the Huffington Post as did Doug MacCash of the Zombie-Picayune and Chevel Johnson of the AP.

Here are a few more pictures courtesy of my dear friend Julie Graybill who wore widow’s weeds that day as did the woman in the first picture:

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Finally, here’s one for our resident GOT fanatic, Athenae:

NOLA winter has come.

Contemplating the rat-juggling waterfront bum for Trump has given me a benign earworm, so I’ll give the good old Grateful Dead the last word:

Friday Guest Catblogging: Dennie Returns

The Krewe du Vieux parade is on February 11th this year. We’re spending a lot of time at the den, which means you get to see our old friend Dennie.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Born Under A Bad Sign

hartley-tollan

Tollan, Aztec Legend by Marsden Hartley, 1933.

The only predictable thing about the weather in New Orleans to start the new year has been its unpredictability. It’s been warm and muggy, wet and damp, foggy and chilly. You name it, we’ve had it, except, that is, for snow. The last time it snowed here was in 2008. Thousands of pictures were taken of the St. Charles street car in the snow. It melted quickly and hasn’t happened since. So it goes.

It was Twelfth Night yesterday, which means that we can finally eat king cake, and, more importantly, hang our krewe flags on our houses. I’ve been wanting to fly the Spank flag for months but Dr. A wouldn’t hear of it until yesterday. So it goes.

Here’s the flag with Dennie the den of Muses cat:

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End of laginappe Carnival catblogging, make that reblogging. If you blog long enough you end up repeating yourself, repeating yourself, repeating yourself…

This week’s theme song, Born Under A Bad Sign, was written for blues great Albert King by Stax Records legends William Bell and Booker T. Jones. It seems to fit the mood of at least half the country as we contemplate the next administration. I’m not sure whether to feel cursed or resigned but I’m certain that the shit brought to the surface in 2016 will continue to stink. Shit’s a funny thing, no matter how you disguise it, it smells just as bad. So it goes.

We begin with a version King recorded in New Orleans in 1978, produced by Allen Toussaint:

We continue with an instrumental version by the man who wrote the music:

Finally, a swell 1993 rendition by the great Paul Rodgers:

Now that we’ve admitted to being down since we began to crawl, we’ll shoot for a rebirth (no, not the brass band or the pale ale) after the break.

Continue reading

Malaka Of The Week: Frank Linkmeyer

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Photograph via WCPO-TV.

It’s time for me to pluck someone out of obscurity and name them malaka of the week. In this instance, the plan is to send the man who “built” the sexist, racist “float” (looks more like a trailer to me) above back to obscurity as soon as possible. And that is why Frank Linkmeyer is malaka of the week.

I’ll yield the floor to the local teevee station that broke the story and provided the picture at the top of the post:

The Aurora Farmer’s Fair, which is put on by the Lions Club, is the biggest event of the year in the Ohio River town 35 miles west of Cincinnati. The parade went right down Second Street Saturday with nearly 200 bands, floats and groups.

One float in particular caught the eye of some people who weren’t happy to see it. It depicted Clinton in an electric chair with Trump ready to pull the switch. The float also featured an Easter Island head painted black with a black face and a sign that identified it as President Obama.

According to Linkmeyer it’s just politically incorrect satire. Given the fact that Donald Trump has mused several times about violence against his opponent, this is not funny. Threats of violence never are.

I know something about satire. In addition to writing it at First Draft, I am a member of a satirical Carnival krewe that puts together a float for the annual Krewe du Vieux parade. My Spank krewe-mates can tell you that any time someone suggests spoofing those who perpetrate acts of violence, I argue against it as vehemently as I speak against “kicking down.” The electric chair is not funny. The Insult Comedian strapping Hillary Clinton to “old Sparky” is not funny. Racist caricatures of President Obama or other black folks are not funny.

Malaka Linkmeyer doesn’t understand why his trailer trash float is a big deal to anyone:

“Could have had Donald Trump in the electric chair.  It was a tossup,” Linkemeyer told WCPO.

Linkmeyer says he and his brother have spoofed people in the parade for years.

“Police officers, judges, nurses, doctors, heart transplant patients — just a variety of things and the people in Aurora and the surrounding area love to see us in the parade,” he said.

One of the odder sub-plots of this odd story is that the parade is put on by the Lions Club of Aurora, Indiana. In my experience, service clubs like the Lions, Kiwanis, Shriners, and Rotary are non-partisan and have members with divergent political views. Linkmeyer’s tacky and tasteless float does a disservice to service clubs like the Lions who do good things in communities across the country. My late father was active in the Kiwanis in San Francisco and a burn unit at a children’s hospital was their main cause. Ironies abound.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: not everything is funny. Depicting the electrocution of the Democratic nominee for President at the hands of her Republican opponent is not funny. And that is why Frank Linkmeyer is malaka of the week.

Introducing Governor Tongue

I took some heat for calling Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson Governor Weed last week. Why, I’ll never know but I did. Btw, I’m for pot legalization. I’ve been to 75 Grateful Dead shows, and I’m a member of Krewe du Vieux:

kdv papers

Now that I’ve shown my papers, draw your own conclusions. There’s another thing that picture proves: I’m a shitty photographer but I have a nice desk. Guess that’s two things.

Back to Gary Johnson. You’re probably wondering why I’m calling him Governor Tongue. It’s because of this interview with MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt:

In case you don’t believe what you just saw, here’s a close-up:

governor-tongue

Who does that on live teevee? It seems that Johnson has something of a tongue fetish:

He once shut himself inside a freezer, to prove he could withstand the cold; he clamped an alligator clip on to his tongue, to show he could withstand pain.

I’m not sure if he thinks he’s Houdini or G. Gordon Liddy but I am certain that he’s a doofus. Perhaps he’s trying to prove that he’s as undignified as the Insult Comedian. It’s a good thing he has about as much chance of being elected President as Oscar or Della.

Writing about Governor Tongue has given me an earworm. It’s a Crowded House song, which has one of the odder opening lines in rock history:

Seal my fate
I get your tongue in the mail
No one is wise
Until they see how it lies

Now that I think of it, that lyric applies to the liars who populate Team Trump as well. Anyway, here’s the song:

Btw, Neil Finn is as fond of the herb as Governor Weed. I may just have to alternate the two nicknames, he said with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Smile

Pandora's Box

Pandora’s Box by Rene Magritte.

It’s starting to feel a lot like summer in New Orleans. It hasn’t quite enveloped us in its full grip but the air is thick and damp. I’m seeing frizzy hair around town. It’s time to put the curling irons away for the duration: nature takes care of that quite nicely on its own. Shit, I sound like a hairdresser. As if I had enough hair to curl in any event….

One of the big local stories is-surprise, surprise-the murder of a former Tulane student who was in town scouting locations for his wedding. The facts of the case are on the hinky side: he allegedly disappeared from Ms. Mae’s bar near Adrastos World HQ. His friends shrugged it off, it’s what bros do. The victim was last seen on closed circuit video in a store in a very tough neighborhood. His body turned up an hour later. My gut instinct is that it was a drug buy gone bad. The local teevee stations have run with it and their coverage only increased when it turned out the dude worked for the 2012 Romney campaign. That led to this world-weary tweet from some internet smart ass:

I wish the local media cared as much about black kids getting murdered in that same neighborhood. Typical.

Now that I’ve bummed you out, let’s move on to this week’s theme songs. Notice the plural: they’re two tunes with the same title. We begin with the title track of a 2000 Jayhawks album. Anyone surprised after a week of Jayhawks songs? I thought not. Smile was written by Gary Louris and evokes Brian Wilson with its wistful melody and lush production. Make that Brian Wilson if he lived in Minnesota since it’s set in the wintertime. There’s no surfing involved, y’all:

The melody of the second Smile was written by Charlie Chaplin for his 1936 film Modern Times. The lyrics and title were added in 1954 by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons.

Eric Clapton used Smile as his opener throughout his 1974 comeback tour:

Now that I’ve put a smile back on your face, we’ll try not to turn it upside into a frown after the break. I promise you’ll be smiling as broadly as Kimmy Schmidt in a jiffy. If you’re not an Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt fan, here’s what I’m talking about.

Kimmy

Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: They All Laughed

Mondrian

Painting by Piet Mondrian.

It’s been a wet May thus far in New Orleans. Jazz Fest was a muddy mess. The day we went turned out to be the driest of the second weekend. I wonder if the Mud Brothers returned to slip and slide in the slop?

In other news, the Formosan termite swarms returned to town. It’s a spectacular sight but not if you’re caught out in it. It’s like the locust scene in The Good Earth but doesn’t last very long. Somehow Adrastos World Headquarters was spared the worst. I have a theory about that:

Actually, I should give credit where it’s really due:

Enough Termite talk. Time to bug out and move on to this week’s theme song. They All Laughed was written by the brothers Gershwin for the 1937 Astaire-Rogers movie musical Shall We Dance. It became one of Fred’s signature tunes. My favorite Astaire version is a 1953 small group jazz version with the great Oscar Peterson on piano:

Next up on the Gershwin hit parade are Ella and Louis with Oscar Peterson on piano. Detect a pattern? It’s followed by a swinging big band version from Der Bingle:

Finally, it would be unforgivable if I didn’t let Fred and Ginger dance in an art deco nightclub for you this Saturday morning:

Now that we’ve all laughed, it’s time for the break. See you on the other side.

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A Trump Veepstakes Suggestion

I’m on the record as thinking that Vice Presidential candidates-even the good ones-rarely make a difference. All the conventional considerations: geography, ideology, resume don’t mean a thing. The only reason this year’s GOP veep stakes will be interesting is that it’s going to be hard for the Insult Comedian to find a running mate with the possible exception of Bobby Knight. It would have to be an unemployed soulless hack devoid of pride with support on the hard right of the GOP. Ladies and gentleman, I give you the former Governor of the Gret Stet of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal aka PBJ:

PBJ Dirty Weiner Drop

There’s already a swell bumpersticker that’s as vulgar as all get out. I’m sure the Donald and Corey Lewandowski would approve:

PBJ Spanked

Trump-Jindal: Schlonging America In 2016.

Oy, Just Oy

I didn’t watch the Wisconsin primary returns last night. I had a pretty good idea of what would happen on the Democratic side since Wisconsin fit the profile of the other primary states won by Sanders. On the GOP side, I didn’t feel like watching a seven-hour speech by Tailgunner Ted. Crazy Papa Cruz may hate Fidel but his son is equally long-winded.

In short, I didn’t think I’d miss anything. I was wrong. It turns out that I missed a Lyin’ Brian howler. I’ll let Charlie Pierce tell you about it:

The first thing we learned on primary night was that Brian Williams of the MSNBC electric teevee channel—as well as (possibly) Chris Matthews, though he may have been kidding, or suffering a terminal brain freeze after talking earlier with Ann Coulter—thinks “mishigas” is an old Irish Gaelic word for something. It’s not, dude. But “omadhaun” is. Look it up.

He mistook one of my favorite Yiddish words for Gaelic? Oy, just oy. Next thing he’ll mistake pastrami for corned beef.

Mishigas is Yiddish for craziness  as well as the name of a Krewe du Vieux sub-krewe. Here’s their 2016 float:

Mishigas 2016

Here’s a faux movie poster from the side of the float:

IMG_1246

Talk about cutting edge satire…

Just when you thought it was photo essay day at First Draft, here are some Yiddish curses for Republican Jews by Rabbi Aaron Spiegel from October 24, 2012:

  • May you sell everything and retire to Florida just as global warming makes it uninhabitable.
  • May you live to a hundred and twenty without Social Security or Medicare.
  • May you make a fortune, and lose it all in one of Sheldon Adelson’s casinos.
  • May you live to a ripe old age, and may the only people who come visit you be Mormon missionaries.
  • May your son be elected President, and may you have no idea what you did with his goddamn birth certificate.
  • May your grandchildren baptize you after you’re dead.
  • May your insurance company decide constipation is a pre-existing condition.
  • May you find yourself insisting to a roomful of skeptics that your great-grandmother was “legitimately” raped by Cossacks.
  • May you feast every day on chopped liver with onions, chicken soup with dumplings, baked carp with horseradish, braised meat with vegetable stew, latkes, and may every bite of it be contaminated with E. Coli, because the government gutted the E.P.A.
  • May you have a rare disease and need an operation that only one surgeon in the world, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine, is able to perform. And may he be unable to perform it because he doesn’t take your insurance. And may that Nobel Laureate be your son.
  • May the state of Arizona expand their definition of “suspected illegal immigrants” to “anyone who doesn’t hunt.”
  • May you be reunited in the world to come with your ancestors, who were all socialist garment workers.

It’s true that I stumbled into this on Facebook. It’s also true that it’s funnier than a hand grenade down your pants. Any of them *might* apply to Brian Williams who visibly leans right even though he’s a Goyim. Yeah, I know. I am too but I know what mishigas means.

Oy, just oy.

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Splendid Isolation

Father Mississippi by Walter Anderson.

Father Mississippi by Walter Inglis Anderson.

It’s been a relatively quiet week in New Orleans. There’s a new gentrification controversy involving changes to an Uptown green space known as the Fly. I’m for the status quo but I’ve decided to keep my fly zipped on this issue. I hereby apologize to everyone for that joke.

Meanwhile in Baton Rouge, the budgetary sky is falling. 8 years of Jindalnomics have left the state in such dire straits that not even Mark Knopfler could fix things. Once again, I need to apologize for that joke, which means I have to take the walk of life in atonement:

The new Governor gave a sort of chicken little speech about the state’s financial woes, which doesn’t seem to have moved many votes in the lege thus far. John Bel Edwards did, however, imply that if there were more budget cuts to higher education, the LSU Tigers might not play football next fall. Now that’s a serious threat here in the Gret Stet of Louisiana: No Leonard Fucking Fournette? Only time will tell if that helps, but the lege is loath to raise taxes on our 1%, which consists mostly of oil tycoons and people named Benson who own sports franchises. I have no idea what’s going to happen but it won’t be pretty. Neither was PBJ now that I think of it…

PBJ Spanked

This week’s theme song was, in part, inspired by the artist who painted the featured image. Walter Inglis Anderson was born in New Orleans but did much of his painting in nearby Ocean Springs, MS. Anderson was plagued with mental health issues and in 1965 rode out a hurricane with his own form of Splendid Isolation:

In 1965, months before his death, he rode through Hurricane Betsy on his beloved Horn Island, tethering his little skiff to his waist, climbing at night to the highest dune, wanting to feel the storm first hand. The water rose to his chest.

“Never has there been a more respectable hurricane,” he wrote, “provided with all the portents, predictions, omens, etc. The awful sunrise — no one could fail to take a warning from it — the hovering black spirit bird, the man of war, just one, comme il faut.”

Warren Zevon also lived life on the edge, but even the most extreme story told about him isn’t as wild as the tale of Walter Anderson and Hurricane Betsy. We grow our eccentrics larger than life here in New Orleans, y’all.

Splendid Isolation is one of my favorite WZ tunes; so much so that I’m posting three radically different versions. We begin with the piano driven studio version from the Tranverse City album:

Next up is a version with David Sanborn and the house band from the, uh, splendid but short-lived teevee show Night Music:

Finally, a live acoustic romp featuring Zevon’s fellow rock eccentric Neil Young:

Instead of putting tin foil on the windows like the character in the song, we’ll pull up our socks and muddle through after the break.

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Friday Guest Catblogging: Day After Dennie

Our merry krewe of Spanksters were tasked with sweeping the den floor the day after the parade. Dennie supervised:

Day after Dennie

Photograph by Dr. A. Coat by David Martin.

Tweets Of The Week: Mopping Up Edition

Yeah, that’s right, tweets. Plural. An alternate title for the post could be Chris Christie meets Krewe du Vieux. We begin with the funniest response tweeted about Governor Asshole’s mop gaffe:

Even Governor Kramden realized he’d gone too far and issued a pro forma apology. He did, however, prove that he’s a bigger dickhead than David Vitter, which is saying a great deal.

Speaking of dickheads, it’s time to mop up Krewe du Vieux season. My old pal and ex-work wife Liprap is a member of the sub-krewe Seeds of Decline. She tweeted out some awesome pre-parade pictures of KdV floats many of which are satirically phallocentric. We begin with two rather tumescent floats, one of which deals with the monuments controversy but transforms the Robert E. Lee statue into Mayor Landrieu’s, uh, column:

One of my favorite KdV peeps is the Captain of Comatose, Lee Mullikin. His krewe’s theme was Mitch & Marlin Make A Porno. The M and M in question are our Mayor and Sheriff. They loathe, despise, and detest one another. They’ve been at war for years over OPP (Orleans Parish Prison.) Since it was KdV’s XXX Anniversary, some of the sub-krewes went even bawdier than usual. Comatose was one of them:

They also projected an R-rated reel of cheesy porn clips. It was the cleaned up version: they threatened do go XXX but opted not to. In my opinion, they won Krewe du Vieux this year. Hail, Comatose.

Our float was more sedate, but we try to be subtler than the other krewes. One of our unofficial mottos is: Spank Doesn’t Do Dick. Someone once suggested: Dickless and Damn Proud Of It. But that didn’t go down very well with our male members. I was proud of our hyper-local take on Carnival culture and Liprap took a swell picture of the float before King Humbert and Queen Lolita,uh, mounted it:

Now that I’ve mopped up, it’s probably time to squeeze it, get the glitter off, and wait until next year.

Hail, Krewe du Vieux. Hail, Spank. Hail, Krewe of Chad.

That is all.

 

 

Clash Of The Entitled

Spank Float

Photograph by David Martin.

It was a long, festive Krewe du Vieux weekend. I’m in pain, and suffering withdrawal symptoms as well. It was KdV’s 30th anniversary and my sub-krewe of Spank celebrated it by satirizing New Orleans parade culture.

Spank does hyper-local satire and Clash of the Entitled was as local as all get-go. We mocked 2 categories of entitled folks. First, the Old Line Krewes as seen above. Dr. A and I cast our fake royals and we did a helluva job I might add. They’ve since been deposed and King Humbert is in an undisclosed location. Queen Lolita reigns supreme in exile.

The second subset of entitled jerks mocked were the people who misbehave on the parade route by camping out, marking off territory, and being generally assholish. We call them the Krewe of Chad and the Spank marchers chadded out in loud Carnival attire:

Krewe of Chad

Dr. A and the Michelin Man. It was cold, y’all.

 

Hand to God, I have never worn jammies in public before. People asked if I was playing a bro. Nope, I was a douchebag, pure and simple. Notice the paddle: we take our Spanking seriously.

I told you this was hyper-local. If any of my readers who don’t live in the Carnival belt have any questions, leave a comment, I’ll try and answer them. I will surely regain coherence at some point in the near future…

Finally, we in Spank believe in providing parade-goers with some light reading material. This year we came up with the Arthur Hard-On Guide. Arthur Hardy is a somewhat stuffy local Mardi Gras maven who publishes a guide every year. It’s positively limp compared to this:

Guide CoverThatGuide back cover

That’s it for now. I’m still knackered from the 3.1 mile march. That’s right, we walk, we don’t ride except, that is, for our fake royals. So it goes.